100 Years of Ermintrude – The Twitter Version

100 Years of Ermintrude, the Trilogy

My first foray into the world of print was to create a trilogy of ebooks called 100 Years of Ermintrude.

Each ebook consists of 33 four line stanzas and together the stories tell a poignant story of many generations of a family.

Little did I know when I wrote it that each stanza was around 140 characters or less.

Each book can be read in minutes but leaves a message about how to live your life that will last forever.

On the 30th July 2009 at 3:33pm GMT, I will be broadcasting the first of the trilogy on Twitter.

Due to Twitter/Tweetlater restrictions on posting, there will be 12 stanzas per hour – so tune back it at 4:33pm, 5:33pm and 6:33pm for the full story …

Either “watch” my Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/thebookwright tomorrow at 3:33pm and you should see a stanza appear every minute.

If you miss it, you can search for the #ohyoe hashtag on Twitter Search

I’d be really grateful if you could tell your followers and retweet this event as much as possible.

Here’s what people have been saying about it …

“Truly a touching piece of work and artistry wonderfully complimented by the guitar music. Thought provoking to the extent I just wanted to ‘hug’ someone.” – SarahJayne Caffray

“I watched/listened to Ermintrude with a couple of friends. If is fantastic, really moving. It made us all sit back and think. Afterwards the room was quiet for a few minutes. It was strange, we then starting talking about who each character was. Definitely a profound effect. Then we watched it again.” – Denise Harris

“Stop, look and listen. Read, learn and inwardly digest. I’m touched and delighted. I’m quiet.” – Jackie Walker

“Stunning, I cried, that’s all” – Maurice Watts

“Ermintrude was a physical, spiritual and emotional journey designed for the soul. A feast for the senses, a harmonic blend of music, voice, and art and prose. A piece to reflect and time out for those who are too busy wasting time instead of living life.” – frankie picasso

Add to Cart

The Ermintrude Years Trilogy @ £4.99 : download version

Includes 3 PDF ebooks including:

  • 100 Years of Ermintrude
  • 25 Years of Tristan
  • 65 Years of Lucy

PLUS, SPECIAL BONUS: the MP3 version of 100 Years of Ermintrude

You can also get the printed version of 100 Years of Ermintrude on Amazon

If you want to know how to do this sort of broadcast and more – and to find out the results of what happens when you do this – come to the Twitter Tactics workshop on the 5th August in the Surrey Hills

Details & registration here …

The Story of Ermintrude – an interview with the author

One hundred Years of Ermintrude videoThis interview with Tom Evans and reading by Debbie Tarrier was recorded by the amazing Neil Fairbrother of Pod3.tv

It’s hosted on Viddler.com – click the + icon to see how you can dynamically interact with it with your web cam

Watch, listen and enjoy

The Story of Ermintrude – the text version

Walk the Walk endWriting a book is a journey.

I started this particular journey on route to a much needed holiday. It was largely written at 35,000 feet in a Virgin 747 somewhere over the mid-Atlantic on the 25th April 2006. So this makes Ermintrude a 5 mile high baby.

I completed this journey, or at least the first part of it, on a sunny, spring Sunday morning in May, at 7:30 a.m. on May 20th 2007, having walked around London for 26.2 miles in a bra with furry cows for tassels with more than 15,000 women and a few hundred men.

I’d just completed Walk the Walk’s 10th anniversary Moonwalk. This is something you don’t expect to do as a result of writing a book and wasn’t on my “Things I Must Do Before I Die” list.

The back story behind 100 Years of Ermintrude is almost as inspiring as the stories themselves. It’s a story of how two people can come together, work to their strengths and combine their talents to produce something neither could achieve by themselves.

I met Jaquetta Trueman, a talented graphic designer, through a business network called Ecademy. At the time, I’d just trained to be a practitioner for an elegant and inspiring procedure called The Core Process which generates a pair of words to describe the raw essence of a person – their soul name if you like. These words are always wonderful and, when people work to them, they become purposeful, contented and unstoppable.

My two words happen to be “Breathing Life” and that’s what I do professionally for businesses, and people, by inspiring them to manifest their dreams.

Jaquetta had engaged me to discover her two words and we found together that she really was “Realizing Excellence”. As a bit of a bonus for Jaquetta, I did my natural “Breathing Life” trick and, in an instant, created a new business idea to take her into a whole new market.

“Why not make ebooks actually readable for computers and other portable devices?” I suggested. “Most of the time, they are just PDF’s of Word documents. Readers just end up scrolling up and down on screen and often just print them out anyway.”

Armed with her two new words and a cracking new business idea, Jaquetta went off and started to find new clients who wanted a graphic makeover of their ebooks to make them more readable. She found a few prospects but all failed to deliver their content so, when she relayed this to me, I said with customary bravado “I’ll write one then.”

The concept I came up with was relatively simple. I thought it would be neat to make a whole life readable, on the Internet, in just a few minutes. I had never written a birthday card without adding a pithy ditty, so the idea came to me to write it in rhyming snapshots, perhaps even as excerpts of birthday cards that someone had received throughout their life.

I always liked novels about birth, life and death for the context they bring to our own lives. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez came to mind.

“What rhymes with Solitude?” I thought. Thinking that the Magic Roundabout generation might be the likely readers, the name Ermintrude popped into my conscious mind. So I had the title and, 33 stanzas later, the whole story just came out before the plane landed.

While on holiday, my partner Louise read it and said “Why not play it backwards?”

So on my return, Jaquetta got the whole story in her Inbox. She cried when she read it.

She waved her magic hands over the words and created a masterpiece of design and, by the 1st of June 2006, it was available for purchase and download on the Internet.

At this point, all we were thinking was that the story would be a demonstration of what can be done artistically and technically. What happened next completely took us by surprise. People started sending in online reviews like this…

“100 Years of Ermintrude is the first e-book I’ve ever bought. It’s a jewel of design and beautifully written – although it can be read very quickly, actually it’s something that needs to be savoured again and again

“I loved the way it begins at the end. It is so very sad in parts just like real life. I was surprised to find such an unusual and innovative approach and it rang bells with me because I have been thinking about my life and how quick it is passing lately.”

“What a stroke of genius to turn it upside down – you’re drawn further and further in, desperate to know what happened before”.

“I read – a lot! But I don’t recall ever having read anything like Ermintrude before… It only took a few minutes to read and to appreciate the imagery – and a few more to re-read… But reading it had a strange effect – a feeling of achievement.”

“What a delightful, unusual book. An excellent insight into the ages of humankind, it deserves a wide audience.”

“The 5 minutes that I spent last night reading “100 Years of Ermintrude” were some of the more thought-provoking 300 seconds that I can recall for a long time.”

“Beautiful, inspiring, moving, emotional, poignant and full from cover to cover with the most amazing energy. I am a different person for having read 100 Years of Ermintrude.”

“Very touching – and the design is just great! I’ve never read an e-book all the way through online before – I hate all the scrolling, and end up printing them off. So it was inspired to make each stanza fit exactly on a screen.”

We were naturally pleased and surprised at the response. From the start, we had decided to give a percentage of sales to charity and shortly found the book endorsed and adopted by the Walk the Walk charity for breast cancer research.

Nina Barough CBE, the inspirational founder of Walk the Walk said,

“It’s fantastic to hear how the story of Ermintrude was born. It never ceases to amaze me the many wonderful and inspirational ways that people find to raise funds for us, and I think in your case it was a happy accident that was just meant to be, so I hope that she and her family will have a long and happy fundraising life.”

Inspired by this initial success, we then set about producing both an audio and a “Jackanory-style” video version of the story. Here’s what people said about them.

“I watched/listened to Ermintrude with a couple of friends. If is fantastic, really moving. It made us all sit back and think. Afterwards the room was quite for a few minutes. It was strange, we then starting talking about who each character was. Definitely a profound effect. Then we watched it again”.

“The story made me cry so much – what a wonderful experience – thank you!”

“Ermintrude moved me to tears, made be laugh out loud and made me think so much of my own life – what an uplifting fantastic 10 minutes of pure “think” time.”

“I will read it often I’m sure, and my 18 year old daughter is already eager to see what made her mother so tearful, yet smilely – Well done to you both.”

The TrilogyFurther encouraged by this, we then wrote and designed the two sequels about the lives of Ermintrude’s children, Tristan and Lucy. The result being the book you are holding.

The message we want to convey in these stories is simple.

Live your life to the full, live every day as if it’s your last, the only time you have control over is right now. Use it, seize it, live it. Live for the Now.

So why did it end up with me “Walking the Walk”? I’m afraid, you’ll have to read to the end to find out why life emulated art.


Postscript: a few months after penning Ermintrude a couple of pennies dropped.

On the Internet, next to us on a Google search, we found the derivation of the name of Ermintrude and it is so apt. It is derived from the Germanic elements ermen “whole, universal” and þruþ “strength”.

Also, I found out that if you add all the numbers of my birth date together, they come to the number 33. 33 stanzas all 33 seconds long on the audio version – spooky.

You can find out more about Ermintrude and her family here